Alex Scott column: ‘We didn’t see Phil Neville’s philosophy adapt’

Alex Scott made 140 appearances for England during a 15-year career in which he won nine league trophies and seven FA Cup titles with Arsenal. She was also part of the English team that won bronze at the 2015 World Cup in Canada and represented Team GB at the London Olympics in 2012. She played in three World Cups and four European Championships.

When Phil Neville took over as England coach, the next step was to beat the best teams in the world and continue to do so consistently. He was also in that mindset.


But I struggle to look back and see what our outstanding performances were. At the World Cup last summer, there was a victory in the quarterfinals against Norway, when everyone thought we were starting to work, but from then on it never really happened.

We were waiting to see where this team is going and we finally fought. After each game, there were more questions than answers.

England is not even competing with the best teams in the world right now and that is worrying to me.


Former managers Hope Powell and Mark Sampson put us in a position to compete with the best, but Neville's track record against those teams has been very bad.

We played nine teams ranked in the top five in the world and won just one.


I used to say this as a player: "you always leave your shirt in a better place than when you found it". We all gave him time to do that. But we have not seen his philosophy adapt.

Neville's record against teams ranked in the top five in the world
Opponent (competition – date)Result
France (SheBelieves Cup – March 2018)Has won – 4-1
Germany (SheBelieves Cup – March 2018)To draw – 2-2
USA (SheBelieves Cup – March 2018)Lost – 1-0
Sweden (friendly – November 2018)Lost 2-0
USA (SheBelieves Cup – March 2019)To draw – 2-2
USA (World Cup – July 2019)Lost 2-1
Sweden (World Cup – July 2019)Lost 2-1
Germany (friendly – November 2019)Lost 2-1
USA (SheBelieves Cup – March 2020)Lost 2-0

& # 39; Stubbornness to change did not help & # 39;

Hope Powell (left), Phil Neville (center) and Mark Sampson (right)

Powell took this team through the World Cup qualifiers for tournaments, silver medals and finals. So you had Sampson, who came in and took us to another level.

The Lionesses were recognized and we went to a World Cup and won bronze in 2015. We wanted to continue.

But we are looking at a team at the moment that struggled to find their best shape and identity under Neville.


He had an idea about the philosophy he wanted to play with, acting from behind, but it didn't work. You can see this from the statistics and the number of goals we conceded.


The stubbornness of not changing this approach did not help, but his intentions were always there to try to improve the game for women.

How Neville's statistics compare to former England coach Mark Sampson
ManagerPWmeWin %Clean sheets
Phil Neville35191154%14
Mark Sampson59.38.1364%32.

When Neville first came in, one of the successful things he did was to get the Football Federation to deal with issues related to the treatment of the women's team. Why are they traveling in a way when England's men's teams travel in better condition? He was highlighting the improvements that needed to be made inside. It was great to have all the media attention that helped to increase the visibility of the game.

But when you look at the development of women's football in this country, the moment and the emotion always come on the back of the Lionesses who do well in world tournaments.

We are trying to inspire the next generation to arrive and they want to see the winners.

Yes, England won the SheBelieves Cup in 2019, but is it a competition to shout about in terms of achievement? I think not. They are not medals that I would show people. It is the medals you earn in the main tournaments that are remembered.

Ultimately, it all comes down to what he did on the pitch and that was not good enough.

Who do I think could replace Neville

Former U.S. coach Jill Ellis won consecutive world cups in 2015 and 2019

It is a strange decision not to part with Neville immediately. You have a manager that you know will not take you to a tournament and you are effectively responsible for friendlies. Does it come down to contracts and money?

You need a manager who enters now, watches WSL games and starts building, instead of waiting 14 months. This is wasted time in my opinion.

We want England to be in the best position to enter the European championship in 2022 and win it at home. It is a great opportunity for a new manager to enter and build.

But if you go back to the initial interview process with Neville, we have the same problems now. It's the same name: Chelsea boss Emma Hayes and former Manchester City manager Nick Cushing – they were in the running before, but they left the process for reasons that were not discussed.

Women's World Cup 2019: England's ups and downs in 2019

So who are we looking at? The pool is not bigger.

Manchester United boss Casey Stoney has a bit of club experience now, when he didn't have it before, but is she ready to step away from what she is trying to build in her club? It will be a longer contract if the FA nominates someone for consecutive tournaments, so that they can help them make the decision.

I think the FA has the ability to attract former US administrator and two-time champion Jill Ellis when you look at investment, which will only continue to grow. That's my disappointment with Neville – everything you need to make this team successful is there.

But is the FA looking for a manager who specializes in developing younger players or are you going to bring in someone with a proven track record? Because this is what you want.

Alex Scott was talking to BBC Sport's Emma Sanders.

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